mary w. farrell
Meet Mary W. Farrell, founder of Cherub’s Blanket
, a home-based business in Shaker Heights that sells organic cotton baby blankets and baby clothes. Cherub’s Blanket sells through its website and Amazon, through wholesale accounts and a sister site in the UK. Farrell also can be found at the Bright Green Gift Store
in the 5th Street Arcades and at the North Union Farmers Markets
at Shaker Square and Crocker Park.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I've always been an entrepreneur. I've developed money making ventures for as long as I can remember. From shoveling sidewalks, to baking cookies, to designing eco-fashion, then into organic cotton baby blankets -- the dream has always been the same: Making money through my own means, drive and will.
Why did you start your business?
I started Cherub's Blanket for two reasons: Create beautiful products to offer people and to do it in a way that would benefit the earth.
What is Green America, and why was it important for you to be approved by them?
Green America is a non-profit organization whose mission is to harness economic power -- the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace -- to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society.
Cherub’s Blanket had to go through a rigorous application process in order to join the ranks of businesses that demonstrate positive social change; are values-driven; showcase both environmental and social responsibility through their sourcing manufacturing and marketing; and are committed to innovative practices that benefit employees, customers, communities and the environment. We are proud to be associated with such an organization.
What were the challenges in becoming a worldwide company?
The challenges were in the barriers to free trade, even to Canada. The process of import/export duties is ridiculously complex and convoluted. I would sell through more countries, but I just don't have time to sort through all the regulations.
What is your most popular product?
Customers love the receiving blanket. People comment al the time that it reminds them of their own baby blanket. The soft cotton waffle texture, the organic cotton sateen binding, the careful stitching -- qualities that are hard to find nowadays in a baby world drowning in cheap plastic and polyester.
What are your customers’ reactions when they feel your products?
"Ooooh, soft!" "Such a nice feel." "The texture is wonderful." "THIS is what I've been looking for."
How long have you been in the Bright Green Gift Store? Why is it a good location for Cherub’s Blanket?
I’ve been there since June 2013. The showroom is getting me a lot of downtown exposure. People recognize the value of organic cotton, and really appreciate that our organic cotton items are made right here in Cleveland.
What advice would you give to someone starting a company in Cleveland?
If you are a woman, Bad Girl Ventures
is a great place to start.
What is the most unique product request you’ve had?
I make baby onesies. One of the most popular is a onesie with reference to the movie “A Christmas Story.” It has a leg lamp on it, and underneath is written, “Fra-gee-lay.”
I had someone ask if I could make one in an adult size sleeper version, with legs and footies. It would have been hilarious, but I just don't have a pattern that big!